Thursday, December 26, 2013


        I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but I spent the first few years in my life growing (or not growing) in the good ol' U.S. of A (Which probably contributed to my picky palate). I was six years old when my family and I moved back to the Philippines after a five year stay in America. 

      The day after I had arrived, I still remember the first meal that my grandmother prepared for us. That images of that dish is still ingrained in my memories, to this very day, simply because what I saw scared the living crap out of me. It was a big bowl of black slop, with little bits of animal parts I couldn't make out floating around. I asked my yaya, "What is that?" and she answered, "Dinuguan.". I looked up at her and asked, "What's Dinuguan?". Never one to B.S. me, she got straight to the point and said, "Pigs blood". I made a face and answered, back, "Yucky!". My mom called me to come eat lunch, and I said, "I don't want to eat the blood of a pig!" and run up the stairs and into my room. Seconds later, my brother followed me into the room. I went up in tears, because in my six year old mind, I was afraid that moving to a strange land such as the Philippines meant being forced to eat food made from the blood of an animal and other exotic dishes.  

    Two minutes later, my mom and dad came into our room, saying that I shouldn't have stormed off, and I should apologize to my grandmother for insulting her food. I was in tears and said, "I hate Filipino food!". That moment, my grandmother entered the room with a tray in her hands, and a warm smile. I didn't have the guts to tell her that I didn't want to eat the food she brought, but thankfully, I didn't need to say anything. She walked in the room, and said, "Richie, you don't have to eat the dinuguan if you don't want to. I prepared this for you.". 

     I was half expecting to see an animal's head perched on to a plate, but instead, I found two plates (for me and my brother), with six slices of Spam, a cup of rice, and a bit of ketchup on the side. Needless to say, we tore into the plate like ravenous cheetahs having a field day with the carcass of a gazelle.  

    Later that evening, at around dinner time, my dad walked into with a bag of food. I won't lie to you. Whatever was in that bag, smelled really good. He said, "Hungry?". I was being bullheaded, and I just replied, "I don't like Filipino Food.". He dipped his hand into the bag, and pulls out a sandwich unlike any other I had seen before. "Its a flying saucer". he said of his strange, round, sandwich. He went in for a bite, and I gotta say, it looked really good. My dad continued to pretend that he didn't notice me watching him, and continued to focus on the TV. He then pulled out another sandwich from the bag and said, "All yours.". I hesitated for a minute, but in my mind, decided that sandwiches are considered American food. 

   I was pleasantly surprised with what I found inside after my first bite. It was definitely new territory for me. It was very meaty, but the flavor was something I had never experienced before. It was only after I had finished my last bite that my dad took the empty sandwich wrapper from me, to throw in the trash, and with a smile said, "That was called "Adobo Flying Saucer". It's made with Chicken. A very popular dish in the Philippines.". I was a little annoyed that I had been had, especially since my Filipino food boycott was still in full effect. My dad, with a laugh, said to me, "See? Filipino food isn't so bad, right?".

   The days following, my dad would bring for me take out food at least once a day, introducing my brother and I to basic Filipino food staples, such as their Chicken BBQ, Liempo and Pork BBQ.. All from Aristocrat.     

     More than 30 years later, I found it ironic that my journey into exploring Filipino Food would continue where it all began: At Aristocrat restaurant, whose standards in food and service still stands tall, till this very day.  

   Our day began at 8am in the Morning, where my food blogger friends and I met at The Aristocrat branch in Jupiter. I was actually starving in anticipation for this.. Trying out the breakfast dishes of Aristocrat!

      Though the Jupiter Branch of The Aristocrat has been standing for ten years, it has undergone a face lift, giving it a more modern vibe, but maintaining that classy, old school Aristocrat feel.


      Our breakfast in the Jupiter branch would be the first of four meals that Aristocrat would prepare for us, making Rina and I, together with our blogger friends, feel like royalty.

              What was my first instinct when the waiter asked me what I wanted to order for breakfast? You guessed it.. Bacon! Aristocrat's Bacon Plate (P255) features three strips of delicious crispy bacon, two eggs in the style of your choice, rice or toast, and a drink. The bacon is awesome.. I love how the ends were blackened a bit, with the right touches of sweetness to it. I only wish the three strips were more of a mountain, but nonetheless, this was a great way to start your day. 

      If you're looking for more Pinoy flavors to start your morning, fear not, for Aristocrat has your back! 


               The Daing na Bangus Plate (P255) features a marinated piece of bangus, and fried to a stunning golden hue, and like all the items on the All Native Breakfast Menu, it is served with two fried eggs, garlic rice and your choice of coffee, hot tea, hot native chocolate, milk or pineapple juice. 

            Aristocrat's take on the Pinoy classic dish, is called Aling Asiang's Chicken and Pork Adobo Plate (P255). One bite of this delicious combo of the stewed Chicken and Pork pieces in a medley of different spices would be enough to make any true blue Filipino feel right at home. 

           You can also opt to have the Longaniza with Chicken and Pork Adobo plate (P270). Aristocrat's Special Longanisa is one of the best I've ever tried, as it was juicy and plump, and those that like their longanisa with nice speckles of fat in it will be pleased (me). 

           The Beef Tapa Plate (P255) features two thin slices of beef, that have a nice lining of fat on its edges for those that are into that (me). This was so good, even the plate looked like it was smiling hehe.

              For those who like their food on the sweeter side (me), the Tocino Plate (P255) is something you must not miss. The chunky slices of pork are soaked in a sweet marinade for several hours, letting the flavor seep into its meat when it's cooked, creating a harmonious balance between sweet and savory. 

     That was an amazing breakfast, right? So can you imagine how we felt upon being told by Mrs. Maryjo Reyes Ferraren, Marketing Head of Aristocrat, that our food trip has only just begun? 

   That's right!

      Our group head on out to Subic for the day, courtesy of Aristocrat!

     We arrived at Subic at around 1pm, so, despite the huge breakfast we had (and since we're food bloggers) we were more than ready for the next meal (Call of duty, son.). 

     The restaurant is quite spacious and has that relaxed vibe that makes you feel right at home.

           But nothing makes you feel more at home than the warm greeting you get by every single person in Aristocrat Subic's staff upon entering, led by Restaurant Manager, Ramil.

       We were re-introduced to the dishes that helped put a stamp on the Aristocrat Legacy: THE BARBECUE!!!


          The Pork BBQ features lean cuts of pork, marinated in the classic Aristocrat way, and like all the BBQ Dishes, served with Java rice and atchara. 

           If you love chicken BBQ, you know all about the hassle of bones, which is why Aristocrat's Boneless Chicken BBQ is so popular. You get the amazing flavor that Aristocrat is known for, with out having to stop every so often to pick out them' pesky bones! 

            My favorite though, is the Pork Spareribs Barbecue. I'm really a pork belly guy, so to me, this was the best by default. It was a little leaner than I would have preferred (Meaning I was looking for a bit more fat), but flavor-wise, it was spot on.


           While I was focused on the Barbecue, Rina was slurping on the Hototai Soup, which was made with generous helpings of Chicken, pork, shrimp, vegetables and egg, swimming together in a thick, creamy broth.  

         I would easily rank Aristocrat's Lumpiang Shanghai as one of my favorites. It's thick, and packed with loads of meat. My companions were dipping it in the Sweet and Sour sauce, but for me, I was happy to eat it all by itself. 

         One of the things you'll notice about Aristocrat is how they certainly don't scrimp on their ingredients. The Pancit Canton (P350) was seasoned perfectly, and every bite of the luscious noodles had an amazing flavor that demanded another. 

   Afterwards, we visited the JEST Camp. Wait for Rina's Rainbow's post on it!

   As soon as we were done with that.. guess where we went for merienda? Yup.. Back to Aristocrat Subic! 


        Everyone was raving about the Dinuguan (P110), but being the picky eater that I am, I decided against eating the dish made with animal's blood. Aristocrat's version had a little twist to it.. Instead of pork, as is the usual tradition, they instead used Beef. 

                  The Arroz Con Caldoz (P120), is something you can see yourself craving for on days where you're feeling under the weather. It was filled with ox tripe and entrails, parts that I don't eat, so Rina gladly accepted it as part of her share. I focused on the delicious rice porridge, that was seasoned immaculately. Normally when I eat Arroz Caldoz, I add a little bit of of Patis (Fish sauce), but this time, it was totally unnecessary. 

                      I was elated to try the Adobo Flying Saucer (P95) once again. The Adobo itself is exceptional, and it really works as a sandwich as well. Light enough for it to be perfect for merienda, but heavy enough for you to have it as a meal when needed.. (Well maybe two of them).  

         A Filipino merienda isn't complete without adding the classic drink to wash it all down.. Gulaman at Sago (P65)

         And capping off the delicious merienda, was Aristocrat's Halo-Halo (Special P125/Regular P90)Assorted sweetened beans and fruit with ice shaving, topped with purple yam, custard and rice puffs, this was the ideal palate cleanser.

       You'd think that after everything we did that day, Aristocrat would call it a night, huh? 

       Guess what? We weren't done yet. Not even close. 

       We head on back to Manila.. Back to the Jupiter branch, For Dinner. 


          I could eat Aristocrat's Shanghai Fried Rice (Big P210/Small P80) sans any other viand if needs be. It's loaded with bits of tasty pork, shrimp, ham and sausage, making it a meal in itself!     

      I've made no secret that I'm not a fan of vegetable dishes, so Rina gets a kick whenever she sees me enjoying one. I'm not going to lie to you, I really did enjoy Aristocrat's Pinakbet (P245). The medley of vegetables to accompany the string beans, included squash, one of the few dishes that i actually really like. 

         Lovers of Sinigang will be very pleased with Aristocrat's Sinigang na tiyan ng Bangus (P340). The sour punch of the broth was taste bud tickler, but it was the healthy heapings of fatty milkfish belly that proved to be a hit.                    

           I have an aversion to tomato based food, which is why I never really got into Mechado (P395). If I see it on the menu of a restaurant, chances are slim to none that I would order it. Aristocrat made me feel like a fool for missing out on a dish so amazing, I decided not to care that I would most likely get an acid attack the next day. The beef itself was extremely tender, while the rich sauce gave a tangy zing to the meat. 

          Aristocrat really brought out the big guns for us. Though we were quite content with what was served to us, no one one even thought twice to dig into the Crispy Pata (P695) that was placed in front of us. The skin was incredibly crispy, and was lined with a rich amount of fat. The meat was   

            I'm gonna go and say it. I like Aristocrat's Chicken Honey (P430 Whole/P250 Half) more than the fried Chicken of Max's. Don't get me wrong. I like Max's Chicken very much, but this was on a whole new level altogether for me. It had a wonderful crispiness, but with a delicate touch of sweetness that just made me crave for more.

           After everything we I told myself I was done. If I ate as so much as a Tic-Tac, my stomach would explode... 

           Then, out of seemingly nowhere, the waiter brings out the gorgeous Torta Delos Reyes (P690 Whole), one of the signature pastries of Aristocrat's Bakeshop. I swear, the whole room got quiet for a minute as the waiter did a slow march to our table, with the torta in his tray. 

        The technique in making this looked really impressive, from the smooth, silky interior, to the precise symmetry of the vanilla and chocolate checker marks, this dessert is the not only looks beautiful, it tastes amazing.  

     On that note, our day finally came to an end. And what a day it was. 

     No restaurant can keep running for 75 years unless it maintains the highest standards of food preparation and service. Aristocrat is proud icon of the Filipino cuisine, and their excellence shines even brighter, more than 7 decades later. 

     Thank you for the amazing day, Aristocrat!

Follow Aristocrat on Twitter: @AristocratPH
Aristocrat Website:

    146 Jupiter Street, Bel-Air Village, Makati City
    Tel. No. 895-0101 / 895-0725
    Block 2 Lot 2 Maharlika Grounds, Rizal Highway, Subic Bay Freeport Zone
    Tel. No. (047) 252-3910

Stayed tuned for a GC giveaway happening in January! 


  1. We also love their chicken honey! <3 And the branch in Roxas Blvd. is open 24 hours so we make a run whenever we get a craving for aristocrat's best seller. :) Not to be missed is their pancit canton. Yum!

  2. I love Aristocrat! Have the best childhood memories associated with their food :)

    1. Hi Joei! Its amazing how a restaurant has touched so many lives, no?

  3. I'll pass on Aristocrat breakfasts, but their chicken and pork barbecue are the gold standard by which all similar dishes are judged! - Midge

    1. More breakfast for me then hehehe.. but yes, both BBQs are awesome!



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